Tourist caught carving initials in Colosseum

Rome, Sep 22 (IANS/AKI) A 40-year-old Austrian tourist was caught carving three initials into Rome’s Colosseum with a Swiss army knife, Italian police said Tuesday.

A Colosseum official reported the woman to police after spotting her carving the initials “M.D.S.” into a pillar of the 2,000-year-old amphitheatre last week.

The woman faces charges of damage to a building of historical and artistic value, police said.

It was the latest in a long list of similar acts of vandalism at the UNESCO World Heritage site, which is visited by more than five million people a year.

A 33-year-old Bulgarian footballer was reported to police in mid-July for carving his initials into a ground floor pillar of the Colosseum with a coin.

Also in July, a Lebanese tourist was caught committing the same offence.

In March, two Californian women, aged 21 and 25, were arrested after carving a J and N into a brick wall on the first floor of the west side of the Colosseum.

Based on punishments that have been handed out in the past, the tourists could face five-figure fines if convicted of vandalising the iconic monument.

A 42-year-old Russian tourist, Akaev Kazbek, was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and fined 20,000 euros in November 2014 after carving a large letter ‘K’ into a wall of the Colosseum.

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